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Agent Image's Blog

By Agent Image | Agent in El Segundo, CA
  • What's in a (Domain) Name?

    Posted Under: Tech Tips, Agent2Agent, How To...  |  September 14, 2011 1:39 AM  |  2,182 views  |  1 comment
    Choose your domain name wisely.Apparently, a lot.

    Especially for a startup business or a new company, competing with countless businesses on the web is a daunting challenge and a high-quality domain will have an impact on your website's success.

    Some factors you should consider when purchasing your real estate domain name:

    1. Brevity - Your name should be easy to remember and should require less effort to type into a browser.
    2. Relevant keywords - Domains that contain commonly searched terms that are related to your business gives your site instant SEO advantage.
    3. Easy recall - Domains that are easy to remember add value to a name and people will thank you for making it easy for them to find you.
    4. Marketability - Your domain name should be complement your efforts at solid branding and your domain should sound as professional and marketable as possible.

    For more tips, check out this related article on More Tips for Hassle-Free Domain Name Registration.

    If you're looking to renew, transfer or purchase an additional domain name for your business, visit agentimagedomains.com
  • Agent Image Fan Appreciation Contest

    Posted Under: Tech Tips, Agent2Agent  |  June 21, 2011 6:34 PM  |  2,432 views  |  No comments
    agent image fan contestHave you entered to win 2 months FREE off your website service plan yet? Start the first day of summer with big savings and enter our Agent Image Facebook Fan Appreciation Contest.

    Visit our contest page or go to the "Fan Contest" link on the left hand navigation of our fan page to enter.

    **This contest is open to all Agent Image active clients who are fans of our Agent Image Facebook page: facebook.com/agentimage No purchase is necessary to be able to enter.
  • Coming Up With a Great Yard Sign for your Property Listing

    Posted Under: Home Selling, Agent2Agent, How To...  |  June 21, 2011 1:13 AM  |  2,626 views  |  1 comment
    real estate yard signsThese days, your real estate website and social media may be the most convenient way for you to reach out to potential clients, but placing equal attention on how your print marketing looks is just as important.

        When conceptualizing your yard signs, always keep your target market in mind. This will make it easier for you to come up with the appropriate design and layout.
    • Know the rules. Check with your neighborhood admin to learn if there’s any specific signage laws in the area. This will save you from possible hassles from local officials or other homeowners.
    • Customize your signs. Choose a professional layout, text and design that’s consistent with your branding.  Make your company name, logo and contact information prominent. Make sure to include the URL address of your agent website.
    • Attach a brochure box. Since you can’t fit every info about your real estate services in a small yard sign, a brochure box will provide people with additional information about the listed property, just make sure the box is weatherproof.
    • Consider adding a QR code.  Add a QR code on your yard sign to link to a specific property listing page on your agent website.  You may create codes for each listing to drive traffic to your site. Then boost your listing pages with high-quality photos and video tours. For more info, check out this QR code article.
    • Digital yard signs. For the more tech-savvy agents out there, if you haven't tried it yet, you may check out digital versions of yard signs --- these signs come in full color, double-sided and are reusable.  You may do a Google search for "real estate digital yard signs" for a list of suppliers.
    • Check your sign inventory. Keep track of how many signs you have and where you have them. Draw up a regular schedule to check up on the condition of your yard signs. You don’t want a shabby, weather-beaten signage so make sure it’s sturdy enough to withstand harsh weather.
    For more marketing tips, visit us at Agent Image, sign up for our Agent Intelligence blog or call us at 1.800.979.5799 for a free consultation.
  • Effective Call to Action Messages on Your Real Estate Website

    Posted Under: Tech Tips in Los Angeles, Agent2Agent in Los Angeles, How To... in Los Angeles  |  June 6, 2011 9:40 PM  |  3,654 views  |  2 comments
    call to action button on your real estate websiteAgent Image sees the advantage of how effectively placing call to action messages on your real estate website can mutually benefit you and your visitors. Not only do they encourage interaction, they also give you the opportunity for more return on investment.

    Call to action buttons give your agent website purpose and prevents it from  being just another static site. That said, you can design your call to action buttons or forms to achieve your business goals. However, having call to action buttons requires careful execution.

    Here are some basic tips to get you started:

    • Check your homepage layout.  Talk to your web developer and designer to make sure that the back end and front end of your site support these forms and buttons.  Make sure to ask your web designer about adding call to action buttons before you start the design process.  If you decide to add them after your website design has already been completed, your designer may ask for additional charges when you decide to add them later.
    • Use urgent language. Words like Sign Up, Buy, Call, and Subscribe clearly indicate what you want visitors to do when they visit your site. When coupled with a time limit on the offer, you also add a sense of urgency to it.  For example, “Click Here to Sign Up for Free Property Listing Email Updates”
    • Use white space. Web visitors won’t give much notice to your call to action buttons if it’s surrounded by clutter. Clear the area around it since empty space will help draw viewer attention.  Check out Chad Mitchell's "Listen to the Show" button.
    • Use graphics. Another way to make your call to action messages pop out is to support it with graphics. For example, on Gerard Bisignano’s website, he invites readers to click and read his article features by placing a corresponding screenshot of the page with a “Click Here to View the Article” message.
    • Size matters. No need for gigantic font sizes that will overwhelm people. Just make sure your call to action options are relatively larger than the font you normally use. If you choose to go with a much larger font size, tone down the colors and make sure it blends well with the rest of the page.
    • Ask for the right information. This is important especially when encouraging viewers to make a transaction. Don’t ask for unnecessary info other than their first and last name, phone number and email address.
    • Add a Privacy Policy. Whenever you ask a client to provide any info about themselves through a form, reassure them that their information won’t be used other than sending the specific info that they asked for when they signed up to your newsletter or email list.
    • Strategic positioning. Place the call to action button somewhere where people can quickly find it. You can also place it somewhere around the center and use empty space or color contrast to draw the visitor’s eye in.  Check out Michael Collins’ Sign Up for Listings button below the search property fields.
    • Don’t overwhelm. You don’t need to have a call to action button on every page. If you want more than one, it’s best to build up to the one which you really want visitors to take.
    • Offer information. Calls to action that offer information motivate your readers to look to you as a trustworthy source. For example, you may place a “Find out the Best Ways to Live Green” button to have them sign up for tips for energy saving and green living.
    • Sweeten the deal. Give people incentives to click the call to action button. Give away merchandise from your real estate company, or offer limited courtesy services.   Most importantly, whether you’re asking people to sign up for a newsletter, view your listings or inviting people to your next open house, you need to assure your site visitors that whatever your asking them to do will be of mutual value to them.
    For more marketing tips or more advice on how to get the most out of your real estate website, visit us at Agent Image or sign up for a Free Consultation.
  • Posing for a Great-Looking Headshot Photo for your Real Estate Website

    Posted Under: Tech Tips in Los Angeles, Agent2Agent in Los Angeles  |  May 18, 2011 12:58 AM  |  3,803 views  |  3 comments
    Whenever people visit a business website, they are always interested to see the faces behind the company name. As a real estate agent, you’re not only selling properties but you are also promoting your expertise and your company image. That said, having a professional-looking photo of yourself on your About Page is a must.

    “Professional-looking” does not necessarily mean stiff or boring. Ask a photographer friend to help you shoot a relaxed, great-looking headshot that will showcase your personality and credibility as an agent. Here are some quick tips before you go for your shoot:   
    • Practice, practice, practice! The only way to find out how to avoid that stiff, awkward look is to practice your natural  smile in front of a mirror. It’s also great for studying what angle works best for your face shape. To get your natural smile, think of something funny or amusing instead of saying “cheese.”
    • Ask a photographer for help. When taking photos for business  purposes, avoid using your camera phone or webcam because chances are, you’ll end up with low resolution pictures, especially if they’re taken under poor lighting conditions. A professional can give you additional instructions on how to look your best. He or she will also have the right equipment and studio.
    • Dress appropriately. You need not dress up for the red carpet but avoid being too casual as well. Remember that you’re going for an approachable but professional image, so choose your outfit accordingly.
    • Lighting is everything. If you choose not to have your photo taken at a studio, you can ask your photographer to set up his equipment in your preferred location such as your office. If you prefer to do it outdoors, your photographer will most likely suggest to have your photo taken early in the morning for the best natural lighting..
    • Relax and stand at an angle. This works to slim practically any body type. Simply angle your body slightly away from the camera. Plant your feet forty-five degrees from the camera, with one foot slightly apart and in front of the other. For the finishing touch, turn your head towards the direction of the camera. This is a great, relaxed pose that will work even if you'll only go for headshots.
    • Go easy on the makeup. For the ladies, go for light makeup. It’ll be a shock to your clients when they meet you in person and you look nothing like in the picture. 
    Most importantly, remember to relax. Something of the way you feel always comes across the photograph. Practice being comfortable in your own skin and learn to be confident and your photos are bound to look great.

    For more internet marketing tips and design advice for your real estate website, visit us at Agent Image.
  • Getting the Most Out of Your Real Estate Company’s Facebook Page

    Posted Under: Tech Tips, Agent2Agent, How To...  |  March 29, 2011 8:05 PM  |  2,840 views  |  No comments
    facebook for real estateMany businesses nowadays have opted to create a company page on Facebook to add to their internet marketing efforts. Aside from giving your market more opportunities to learn about you, having a Facebook page opens up a new channel for communication between you and your existing clients.

    Consistent branding across all types of media is always good practice so it’s essential to make your brand easily identifiable on all your social profiles. That said, here are some more tips on how you can get the most out of your company’s Facebook page.

    Identify your Objectives. Get down to business after the basics of putting up a company page. To stand out from the flood of status updates your fans might be getting, come up with a regular posting strategy that supports your goals. For example, you might want to get into the habit of posting company news updates every morning and links to company blog posts at set days of the week. That way, your fans will be eager to get the next update from you

    Create a Venue for Dialogue. Activate your Facebook wall so that people can post easily. The majority of posts on your page should be designed to provide value and engage people. Rather than using your page for advertisements or aggressive marketing, use it as an open channel to communicate with your fans and potential clients. Regulate your updates so you don’t flood the newsfeed with one post after another. That way, the next time you post the latest market news, upload photos of your latest listing or link your latest blog entry, people will be more likely to comment instead of just “Liking” everything. Remember, your real estate company’s page should have a healthy balance between your content and content from visitors.

    Define your target market. Facebook works by letting you choose which groups you would like your advertisements to reach.  Based on key data like age, gender, education, and relationship status, you can narrow down who to attract with your ads. Of course, it’s not necessary to do this often, but it's a good thing to consider if ever you decide to post an ad.

    Test your options. Facebook offers two options for ad prices. You can pay based on either a cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM) model. CPC advertising is good when your goal is to have people click through to your real estate website while CPM advertising is appropriate when your goal is to increase brand, product or service awareness.

    Add Interactive features. Having polls, trivia, discussions and quizzes on your page encourages feedback and participation. It also encourages fans and visitors to engage with you. By capturing their attention on the onset, they’ll learn more about you and your services.

    Share knowledge from other sources. Don’t hesitate to share information gathered from other sources in the industry. The more people visit your company profile to clue in on the latest news and information, the more chances will increase of them actually doing business with you or refer your services in the future.

    Social media is a great way to amp your internet marketing. Aside from helping you advertise your services, it also helps you anticipate the needs of your market. 

     
    For more articles and real estate marketing advice, visit our Agent Intelligence blog or contact us for a Free Consultation.

  • How Solar Panels Can Help Your Home Sell Faster

    Posted Under: Home Selling, Agent2Agent, Going Green  |  March 8, 2011 4:09 PM  |  3,107 views  |  1 comment

    solar panels help sell homes fasterGoing green has never been more profitable for the real estate industry. As an agent, some green advice you can give home sellers on your real estate website or blog is to invest in solar panels. Not only will solar panels help their property stand out, it will also be a long-term source of savings for their buyers. Take a look at some pointers we’ve gathered on how solar panels can help you sell homes faster.

    • Installing solar panels gives your property locked- in energy rates. Change is constant when it comes to electricity costs. The California Public Utilities Commission notes that from 1971 to 2001, electricity rates have gone up almost 7%, which is the national rate of increase. Offering property with solar panels ensures potential clients that they steadily save more money annually with the continuous increase in electricity cost. They can save up to 15% per month on their power bill!
    • It’s a way to get solid returns on investment. There are many ways to revamp a home, but you can never be certain if the new upholstery or wider balcony is enough to keep you ahead of the competition. On the other hand, solar panels increase the value of homes on the market up to 20%. By installing solar panels, you’re also promoting a greener lifestyle, so it’s a win-win situation.
    • Solar-powered homes command higher market value. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development says that by buying property with solar panels, homeowners can also apply for Energy Efficient Mortgages, thus increasing buyer privilege. In fact, they could borrow up to $20,000 more when borrowing for a home with solar panels.
    • Home-improvement at its best. The financial returns start coming in almost immediately. This is the case especially when homeowners are in need of a solar provider. Solar provider benefits include: ownership options, installation, maintenance, and insurance of the panels. Look for solar providers like SunRun and Solar City, both of which offer the above services. When they home owners opt to use solar provider services, they just have to pay monthly for the power they use up. If they sell their property, they can even ask to have the services transferred. The added market value is a great incentive, too! According to a study by Shea Homes, California homes with solar panels have increased more than double their resale value compared to property without installed panels.    

    Solar panels are a long-term investment. Installation may involve careful planning, but its benefits outweigh any cost you might incur during the initial setup process. This energy-saving technology is not just a way to save money, it’s also a lifestyle choice that will help both you and your community for generations to come. If that doesn’t make solar panels worth installing, then we don’t know what will.

    For more articles, marketing tips and advice on how to get the most out of your real estate website, visit Agent Image or call 1.800.492.6777.
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